Sometimes, life deals you a bad hand. You immerse yourself in self-pity blaming the world, the lines on your hand, and God. Shekar Goud was one such person.
“On December 24, 2006, I was speaking on my mobile phone and sitting on a wall which was adjacent to an electrical transformer. Suddenly, I slipped from the wall and fell down. On one side was the transformer and on the other side, there were electrical wires. Either way, I should have died,” says Shekar.
Except that the Fates didn’t want him to die. Fifteen surgeries later, Shekar survived, although he was without his left leg and right hand. For someone, who loved swimming, trekking, and rock climbing, this was a very cruel blow.
Shekar had to start everything from scratch. What hurt him further was the fact if the government hospital in Telangana (Andhra Pradesh at the time) would have acted on time, his limbs might have been saved. Nine hours were wasted as the hospital deliberated on whether they should operate on him.
He was depressed and tried killing himself multiple times. “For my operation, my father spent his entire saving and even sold our own farmlands of the village as well. After I lost my leg and hand, I felt like I have lost everything in life. I wasn’t able to go out or even get a job for myself. I tried to kill myself many times. But every time God saved me so as to show me a purpose in life,” says Shekar.
That purpose was cycling. Shekar started cycling in 2013 and took it to it like a fish to water. So much so that in 2016, the 28-year-old cycled from Leh to Kanyakumari in 58 days, covering 4,100 kilometres on his cycle.
“I started the ride on October 25 and finished it on December 28 after a 58-day long journey. It all began from Leh and I reached Hyderabad on November 27 but had to take rest due to an unwanted injury to my kidney due to low intake of water. Even after resting for 20 days I still had a high fever and kidney stones. I started cycling back on December 22 from Hyderabad and within seven days I completed Hyderabad to Kanyakumari on December 28, 2016,” says Shekar.
He took on life in this journey. It was his one chance to prove to himself that he was worth the multiple chances Fate had given him. He overcame the extreme cold of Leh and the horrible traffic in Delhi and Noida. Two days into the journey, he decided to sleep in the support vehicle because the tent was too small for him. A little after midnight, he realized that his body had frozen completely. “This is where my driver came in and helped me to get warm by placing me in front of a fire. In the morning he told me, ‘Last night you could have died as your body had become like ice’,” says Shekar.
He cycled 50 kilometres daily in the Himalayas but once he crossed Punjab he upped that to 150 kilometres. From 5 in the morning to 6 in the evening he used to cycle for a good 12 hours every day. He kept on and on. He was the Energizer Bunny that ran on pure energy.
Shekar’s cycling journey began in 2013 when he used to cycle 10 kilometres every day to work on his ungeared bicycle. He gradually began cycling up to 40 km a day. The same year he participated in a 200 kilometres cycling event where he completed 169 km in 16 hours, but couldn’t ride more as his bicycle did not perform to his expectation. That was when he decided to cycle from Leh to Kanyakumari.
What next for this child of Fate? “I am looking forward to going to the USA next year and ride my bicycle over there. Besides that, I want to participate in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as a Para-cyclist and represent India at the Olympics,” says Shekar with a bright smile on his face.